West Africa

West Africa West Africa is a culturally diverse region of Africa, located in the westernmost part of the continent of Africa. Burkina Faso is located in west Africa and is home to 15.7 million people. In Burkina Faso alone there are more than 50 ethnic groups, each with its own social and cultural distinctions.
Burkina Faso

Rural Region

  • Children routinely help their parents out with demanding chores and farming. Children routinely help their parents out with demanding chores and farming.
  • These children in Compassion's program have access to clean water for drinking and washing hands. Proper hygiene helps keep diseases at bay. These children in Compassion's program have access to clean water for drinking and washing hands. Proper hygiene helps keep diseases at bay.
  • Education is vital for a child to escape poverty. Sponsored children receive educational support and hope for a better future. Education is vital for a child to escape poverty. Sponsored children receive educational support and hope for a better future.
  • Children at Compassion centers get help with their studies, and participate in games and exercise for healthy physical development. Children at Compassion centers get help with their studies, and participate in games and exercise for healthy physical development.
  • Children in the Compassion program have the opportunity to grow in every way: mind, body, heart and spirit. Children in the Compassion program have the opportunity to grow in every way: mind, body, heart and spirit.
  • Families in rural Burkino Faso typically live in thatched houses in arid areas. Families in rural Burkino Faso typically live in thatched houses in arid areas.
  • Rural families in Burkino Faso depend heavily on farming to survive. Rural families in Burkino Faso depend heavily on farming to survive.
 
BURKINA FASO OVERVIEW

Population

18,365,123

Religion

Muslim

Weather

 
A Glimpse of Poverty in Rural Burkina Faso Burkina Faso Overview
  • Burkina Faso is predominantly rural, with 90 percent of its population dependent on subsistence farming.
  • The country consistently experiences food insecurity due to irregular rainfall as well as the use of outdated, inefficient farming methods. The government reports that more than a third of the rural population lives with food instability.
  • The food challenge is made worse by the prevalence of endemic diseases such as malaria, which accounts for about 29 percent of child deaths in Burkina Faso each year. Rural residents must travel long distances to the nearest health care center.
  • The recent discovery of gold in rural areas has led to an increase in employment of child laborers in small-scale mines. These mines offer better pay than what the average laborer makes, attracting thousands of youths.
  • Parents often pull their children out of school to work the mines, where they are exposed to drugs, alcohol, HIV and lung disease (from breathing pulverized-ore dust).
COMMUNITY
Burkina Faso Community
Issues and Concerns
  • Rural Burkina Faso lacks basic services like health centers, schools, water and electricity.
  • The farther people live from urban areas, the tougher it is to find drinkable water.
  • Chronic malnutrition is a pervasive concern for children.
  • Rural families, who often can’t travel to urban medical centers, suffer the worst near the end of the growing season while waiting for harvest.
Local Needs and Challenges

Persistent drought

This serious problem devastates much of the country’s crops, and many Compassion-assisted centers throughout Burkina Faso report cases of malnutrition among children.

Low education levels

In rural areas, girls often quit school to care for the family home. When parents can afford to send their children to school, many students must walk long distances to get there.

Inadequate housing

Throughout the rural areas, poor housing is common.

Child trafficking

Children in border towns are particularly vulnerable to this evil.

Malaria and meningitis

These life-threatening illnesses are continual threats.

EDUCATION
Burkina Faso education
Schools and Education
  • Education services are scarce and insufficient.
  • School fees are very expensive, and many families cannot afford their children’s education.
  • Only about one-third of Burkina Faso’s children are enrolled in elementary school and those are primarily in urban areas.
  • Some tribal practices bar children, particularly girls, from school. Girls under 15 are frequently forced into early marriage and out of the school system.
  • Pervasive poverty also dictates that children work, sometimes laboring in mines, rather than attend school.

Compassion Burkina Faso works to ensure that every registered child is able to attend school, and it provides additional support, including tutoring, at the child development centers.

At the Compassion Child Development Center

Child development centers provide registered children with a place to learn, grow and study.

Children whose families have never been able to offer them clean water, health care or an education now have access to these necessities.

Compassion-assisted children attend health classes, tutoring sessions and Bible studies at the center. They also spend time writing to and praying for their sponsors.

What Compassion Sponsorship Provides

In partnership with local churches, Compassion is bringing real help and hope to impoverished children in rural Burkina Faso, providing:

  • regular nutritious meals and snacks
  • health checkups and medical care as needed
  • the support needed to attend school. This is especially important in the northern communities where about 80 percent of youths work at the gold mining sites.
  • parent education to make caregivers aware of the dangers their working children may face
  • income-generating activities for parents so that even when rain is insufficient and crops are scarce, they can feed their children
  • regular vaccinations and medicine for intestinal parasites
  • insecticide-treated bed nets for protection from malaria-carrying mosquitoes